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R1200st countersteering issues


roughdiamond

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I have recently bought - about 2000 miles ago - a R1200St 2005 with 17k on the clock. I'm very experienced rider, ride all year and now cover about 12k a year average. I've owned 35 bikes so far (usually twins of various configerations). I really like most of the St - the relaxed power/high gearing; general feel; look; fuel consumption; brakes (abs) and finish to a degree. But I do not like the high effort needed to counter steer her through the bends - particularly at lower speeds (<60mph). At higher speeds the bike is fine and it makes one of the best motorway bike i have ever owned (comfortable, little wind buffeting around the helmet and 4000rpm at 80mph is very relaxing). It amazes me, though, and annoys me, that I have to physically have to push it into a bend and then keep the pressure on the bars mid turn. On most my bikes I hardly put any pressure on the bars while this is a constant irritation.

 

My questions are: is this just the bike? The suspension is not great on the bike but it is not the reason for the countersteer effort. I've done just about all the adjustment on the rear that's possible and it makes very little difference. Likewise tyre pressure changes obviously affect it but not enough to change the effort (and, anyway if you put too much pressure in the front it has an adverse affect on the front suspension).

 

Could the type of tyre be adding to the problem? It's got M6s front and rear (about 2/3 worn). I've read in this forum that some owners report issues with these - if this is the case what tyres reduces the coutersteering forces?

 

The bike is straight by the way and all bolts etc accounted for.

 

Any ideas?? and thanks in advance from a newboy to this forum

 

 

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Anton Largiader

The 2/3 worn tires are probably having a pretty big impact on the handling. The RS-style bikes really suffer as the front tire wears; more so than the RT and GS go.

 

What pressures are you running? I think the pressures listed for the RT, for instance, are too low. I rode one the other day (with about 2/3 worn tires, maybe 3/4) at listed pressure and the steering was far too heavy. Going up to 35 helped a lot, but the real issue was the worn tire.

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...if this is the case what tyres reduces the coutersteering forces?

 

NEW tires reduce the effort. I just replaced my front tire (rear will follow) and was amazed at the cornering difference. The bike now glides into a lean smoothly and stays there. Prior, it was jerky, requiring more bar-push and adjustments in the turn. Rear goes on this weekend--I expect even more improvement. Running PRII's on my R12RT.

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You are experiencing what I have on two different machines for two different reasons. My Moto Guzzi running the owner's manual stated tire pressures steered just like your ST. I'm running 36 lbs Front and 41 lbs on the Rear tire of my ST and it steers well. With those pressures a little body English into higher speed corners is all the chassis needs to go full boggie in the twisties. On my first Triumph (900 Daytona) with only 3500 miles on it, I was initially disappointed in the steering. It had sport tires on it (BT 50's) and at that milage the handling had gone off. A tire change transformed it to a fine ride.

 

And by 2/3 worn you mean to the wear bars, I'd vote that the tire profile is degraded enough to cause your problem. I personally change tires at the point the profile affects handling and not when the tread is entirely gone. I call that life insurance. :/

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PS. If any of you know why the photo doesn't appear above let me know. Before this site was revamped I could get them linked correctly.

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Image shack have changed their links - the stock version now has .php in it. If you use the 'Direct' link and paste it between img headers it works.

 

Back to the OP - I agree its probably worn tyres - some bikes are very influenced by them.

 

For fast steering (at some cost to wet-wether performance) go for Conti-Force. More stable and predicatble steering will come from Conti Road/sport-Attack, Dunlop RoadSmart, Avon Storm, etc.

 

I always run the pressures reccomended by the tyre manufacturer - I find it gives the best tyre life and grip.

 

Andy

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I find tires have a great deal to do with handling issues. On my '05 RT, the last front I changed was getting low, and handling degraded severely. I recently put a Dunlop Roadsmart on the front, and it is just magnificent. I am almost ready to replace the rear. I will put a Roadsmart on the rear as well.

 

Tire pressure: 38 front, 40 rear. That works best for me...

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I would definitely suspect tires. I recently finished a long ride with lots of slab riding. My tires were new at the start but now have around 6k miles, around 4k of which was on the highway. They are noticably flattened in the center and the effort required upon turn-in is pronounced.

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Thanks all - yes tyres are the obvious culprit but I've never changed a tyre until it's fully worn to manufacturers spec. After all, if they can rcommend riding until 2mm or so then it must be OK?? The point is I alays have done that and never really got too much hassle for it. Yes, there's a payback. But these tyres I would not normally change for another 3k or so.

 

Is it possible that the swinging arm is too long. It might sound nuts (and I'm no techno wizard) but if the arm is too long for the steering geometry then won't it essentially want to push on into the bend rather than go around it. Consider this: the Guzzi Breva 1200 and GTs1000 Ducati that I recently tested were very neutral, steered well and needed hardly any effort to hold a line (not so good in some other areas but that's another story).

 

Still it looks like a tyre change coming up - Avon ST's probably

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arlidge, When I got my ST its handling went from good to poor in only about 1500 miles at the same preasures. Once I put a new set of tires on, the handling went from poor, past good to very, very good. This lasted for about 5000 miles and then the handling then went to good and eventually (now) to poor again.

 

I *definately* vote tires.

 

Speaking of tires, if you like sport tires, Cyclegear is having a one-day sale of the new multi-compound BT-016's this saturday for only $189 for the PAIR. That's about $100 off of their price, and about $50 cheaper than any discount mail-order tire place I know.

 

Good luck!

 

JT

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I would agree that the tires are the culprit. After getting rid of my Z6's (badly squared off)and switching to PR2's the bike just falls into corners with little effort.

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Thanks jaytee - that's pretty definitive. Not heard much about the bt016s this side of the pond. I've always liked the BT020, though. I really like the bike so I'm hoping that it will come together and be a worthy replacement for the 1150RS.

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Thanks all - yes tyres are the obvious culprit but I've never changed a tyre until it's fully worn to manufacturers spec. After all, if they can rcommend riding until 2mm or so then it must be OK??

 

My signal to change tires is when they are too squared off and I have to actually get the bike to roll of the edge to turn, completely independent of balance of tread depth.

 

YMMV

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I have an entirely different take on this. I don’t think this has anything to do with the bike or the tires on it. Rather I suspect your body position is wrong. This statement bothers me – “and then keep the pressure on the bars mid turn.” This makes me think you are cross controlling the bike. That is; not getting enough of your body mass to the inside so the bike will maintain a balanced arc, (once established with a counter steering input) without having to maintain a constant push on the inner bar.

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Not disagreeing that what you say could be the issue Ken. I reiterate that my RoadSmarts, after squaring off on the slab perform as per his description. I try to religiously employ Ride Smart techniques (e.g. kiss the mirrors). I can routinely lift my hands off the bars in mid sweepers using the right body position. With the tires worn the way they are now (plenty of tread mind you just square), I'm using good body position and still pushing the inside bar to turn.

 

If my tires get any more square I won't need a kick stand anymore. :dopeslap:

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I will admit that I do sit as close to the tank as possible - always have - but even so I have not encountered this countersteering effort on any of my modern bikes or those I have tested. And I have to say that's an awful lot both professionally and for leisure. Incidentially I have never ridden a bike before fitted with these Roadtec M6s so it may just be the tyre design does not suit my style = old fashioned/no hanging off at all.

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I felt the exact same way as you Roughiamond.

For the last 33 yrs and 330,000 mi I mostly owned Japanese bikes. I switched from an FZ1 (Fazer where you come from) to an ’05 R1200ST w/12,000 mi on it back in July.

I had the same issues as you; my last bike would fall into a turn, I could get on the gas early, and it would hold its line.If anything I would vbe turning into the corner.

With the ST I have to counter steer/push it down through the corners. (Especially while on the gas)Like you I tried everything I could with the few available adjustments, but not much helped. But all the stuff they are telling you on this post is true. You probably need to change your tires, and your riding style.

I had worn out Bridgestone 020s and now I have New Avon Storms now. That helped. (love the Avons) You will definitely have to change you riding style. (You no longer have a conventional front end) I changed my riding style and that helped. After riding the thing for 4,000 miles, I’m getting used to the unique characteristics of the bike. The suspension is crap so I’m looking into aftermarket shocks right now.

Just keep riding it, and you’ll get more used to it. It’s funny, because on paper it really isn’t much different than my old bike, (Down on power a little, but down on weight also) but the geometry is so much different. I think the swing arm on the ST is actually shorter. The CG is way lower making it easier to ride.

 

Good luck, and welcome to the club.

 

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I've rode an F650GS (rental) that had the same behavior. I took a closer look at the front tire and noticed it was horribly cupped... the worst I've ever seen. So bad that the bike would wobble at low speeds and pull to one side.

 

Most tend to agree that the front tire pressure needs ot be kept a little high than recommended to reduce cupping on the front tire. That alone might even help solve the problem.

 

For solo riding, try 34/36psi instead of 32/36psi. Or just keep experimenting. The downside of higher pressures is the the front tire won't get up to temp as quickly.

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Thanks guys - i have tried 36psi and it made it a little easier but the downside was harsh front end performance and very little feel in the wet. So I will swap tyres in the next 4/5 weeks and report back. The most unfortunate thing is that the guy gave a new set of tyres with the bike - yep, a replacement set of the currently fitted Z6s that most commentators seem to dislike! Looks like I'll have to stick `em on ebay. Curses.

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I agree also for aggressive riding, the R12ST appreciates some body weight to the inside of the turn. I'm also in agreement the Guzzi Breva does steers easier but, you have to compair the bikes both with tires in the same condition. My BMW has a power and ground clearance advantage on the Breva, so it's difficult to get the best of everthing all in one bike. Also the back tire can slow steering as much or more than the front when squared off from my experience.

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I am running M3 on the front and have run both M3 and Z6 on the back without much difference in handling between the two (Z6 lasts quite a bit longer). The bike will turn in and transition very fast for a bike of this size due to it's low center of gravity. The bike is wider between your knees than most true sport bikes so you were probably shifting your weight more on the sport bikes without noticing it. Weight shift at turn initiation on an ST will make the bike literally "flop" into the corners and stay there with little or no bar pressure. I normally run 36psi front and 38psi rear which tightens up the handling a little and seems to increase tire life as well.

 

Dave

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It's tires. My 05 came with Michelin Pilot Roads which were the best tire I have ever ridden. Had three sets of them and the bike handled perfectly for about 4K miles then began to taper off. As the NASCAR boys say "she was pushin in the corners". Now, I have my first set of Pilot Road II's and they suck until you get them really heated up. I'm not smart enough to figure out why this bike is sensitive to tires, but it is. It's still fun.

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But I do not like the high effort needed to counter steer her through the bends - particularly at lower speeds (<60mph).

 

Really just sounds like the bike is either too high in the front, or too low in the rear. Do you have the rear shock preload all the way up? Is the front all the way down? If not, those settings will make the bike fall into the turns easier.

 

The stock rear spring on most bikes is very soft, having been designed for a "standard" 170lb rider. I don't know about you, but that doesn't fit a description of me! That's one reason many people change the shocks. If you don't want to spend the big bucks for shocks, and are a heavy person, you can purchase a heavier rear spring separately.

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As most suggested it was tyres. New set of Bt020 have transformed it into an entirely normal bike! Phew. I was surprised, that 2/3 worn tyres made the bike feel so unwieldy but I'm guessing that it was just the tyre itself and not any particular geometry etc on the bike. Still, Thanks again all and safe riding.

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I've found steering response the same as your case on several different bikes and several different brands of tires. I felt the original Avon Azzaros were better steering at advanced miles than most. I tried the Avon Storms and the ultra secure feeling in the corners just wasn't there like before. I also had a Storm front tire at low miles that caused a front end shimmy. So the quest for the perfect tire continues. No doubt it's already here. It's called a new tire. :grin:

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I run the Michelin PR2's on my ST at 35F 39R. I weigh in at around 12.5 stone with all the bike gear on and carry another 3 kilos or so in the topbox (which in it'self weighs 4 or so IIRC). Raising the tyre pressure has improved the handling on my bike by a huge factor IMO.

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